CubaPLUS Magazine

African Culture and Education, a heritage that enriches us

By: Alina Veranes
Jan 24, 2023
African Culture and Education, a heritage that enriches us

That African blood runs in a good percentage of our veins and that its cultures are part of the root foundations of our customs and traditions, is something that is breathed in the air and in the daily life of this beautiful Antillean island, as soon as the foreign traveler arrives to relax on its beaches, cities or countryside.

 cultura-africana-educación-1-1t.jpgAn island whose inhabitants of all colors pride themselves, in  being educated, to be the most cordial and supportive hosts that visitors can meet.That is why it is an excellent coincidence that the planet celebrates today, January 24, each separately, but in the course of a single day, the International Day of Education and the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture, or vice versa, no matter theorder, although in our country both themes are really inserted in our heritage and currently have a lot to do with each other.

It is free and free access, without barriers of classes or social sectors and much less for “racial” reasons  -we know that science denies the existence of different races- one of the bastions of Cuban society considered a basic and inalienable human right of all those born here, in accordance with the indications of the UN humanist programs. As for the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture, promoted since 2020 by Unesco, it is enjoyed on this island with the added joy of making the jubilee close to the date of the birth of the National Hero José Martí, the man who invited us to work for and dream of a just republic: with all and for the good of all.

It was the slave trade promoted by colonizers that brought thousands of unfortunate men and women from that rich continent to work in subhuman conditions, in the so-called plantation economies founded mainly in the Antilles, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Costa Rica, the United States andother nations where today millions of their descendants live.

In Cuba, neither the whip nor the barbaric punishments, or the persecution with wild dogs when they became maroons and lived in isolated free palenques, prevented them from preserving their religious beliefs, and from developing a new and resounding music called here rumba or son,with its ancestral drums that influenced all the music, the way of dancing of the people and the seasonings of our popular cuisine, among other contributions.

Since 1986, the wonderful House of Africa was inaugurated in the Historic Center of Old Havana, a World Heritage Site, which puts visitors in contact with beautiful and valuable collections made up of more than two thousand pieces of wood carvings, ivories, costumes,furniture, weapons, and other artistic manifestations that reveal the greatness of the diverse cultures of the continent Mother of Humanity, for being the cradle of Homo sapiens.

Since 2009, the Museum of the Slave Route was inaugurated in the western city of Matanzas, halfway between Havana and the famous resort of Varadero and is included in the Slave Route sponsored by Unesco in the Antilles. The ruins of the coffee plantations founded in the 19th century by French settlers with slave labor, which achieved notorious prosperity and beauty, also form part of this historical-cultural project in the eastern provinces. cultura-africana-educación-2t.jpgAs for the African descendants, of various colors due to the rich miscegenation, they are citizens who have all the justice in the world, guaranteed by an inviolable law sponsored by the Constitution.Not everything is perfect, because there are remnants of racist, isolated, non-institutional ideas, still in the minds of some people, which are fought with fair laws and education.To work on the elimination of such shameful prejudices, the Aponte Commission has been operating for several years, in homage to a former slave who was an anti-colonialist fighter, vilely assassinated by the metropolis.

This commission has a special commitment, among other commendable goals, the promotion of black and mixed-race women for their advancement and progress within society, noting that in this country all its inhabitants without distinction enjoy the same legal rights.

In recent times, something very beautiful has proliferated, since younger women and men are seen more frequently showing off their splendid hair with the naturally curly Afro or covered with handkerchiefs tied around their heads in the style of their ancestors.

African attire is worn with pride, knowing that there is still more and better homage to the land of many of our grandparents. We have to go further, but we are going at a good pace.

Since 2009, the Museum of the Slave Route was inaugurated in the western city of Matanzas, halfway between Havana and the famous resort of Varadero and is included in the Slave Route sponsored by Unesco in the Antilles. The ruins of the coffee plantations founded in the 19th century by French settlers with slave labor, which achieved notorious prosperity and beauty, also form part of this historical-cultural project in the eastern provinces.

As for the African descendants, of various colors due to the rich miscegenation, they are citizens who have all the justice in the world, guaranteed by an inviolable law sponsored by the Constitution.Not everything is perfect, because there are remnants of racist, isolated, non-institutional ideas, still in the minds of some people, which are fought with fair laws and education.To work on the elimination of such shameful prejudices, the Aponte Commission has been operating for several years, in homage to a former slave who was an anti-colonialist fighter, vilely assassinated by the metropolis.

This commission has a special commitment, among other commendable goals, the promotion of black and mixed-race women for their advancement and progress within society, noting that in this country all its inhabitants without distinction enjoy the same legal rights.

In recent times, something very beautiful has proliferated, since younger women and men are seen more frequently showing off their splendid hair with the naturally curly Afro or covered with handkerchiefs tied around their heads in the style of their ancestors.

African attire is worn with pride, knowing that there is still more and better homage to the land of many of our grandparents. We have to go further, but we are going at a good pace.

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